“Will someone get that, please?” I shout.

The phone is ringing and as usual, I am otherwise occupied.  This time my arms are full of laundry that requires immediate hanging so that I am not forced to iron any of it (and there is no way I’m going there).  Not only does that phone continue to ring, but I hear no signs of intelligent life – or otherwise – attempting to retrieve it.

“Is someone going to get that phone?”  I bellow, a little more loudly this time.

Nothing.

I race up the rest of the stairs, taking two at a time (no small feat balancing a laundry basket on my hip), and sprint into my bedroom, drop my basket of fresh laundry and pick up my bedside phone that is buried beneath piles of overdue library books.

“Hello?” I pant into the receiver.

Nothing.

Dial tone.

I am one ringy-dingy too late.

So laundry now folded, I traipse back down the stairs to speak to my beloved children.  It astonishes me that I can ask the same question over and over again – “Did you not hear that phone ringing?” – and actually expect an answer other than “Nope”.

Bless their dear little hearts, my children are intelligent creatures and occasionally reply with “… I couldn’t find it …” – that would be the popcorn-encrusted cordless phone that  is buried somewhere in the couch.  Or better yet, “I didn’t know the number …” – which really means –  “… anyone important will text me.”

I can appreciate my kids’ lack of motivation in answering the phone, for it is after all, my fault.  Their phone apathy comes from years of Stranger Danger training to NOT answer the phone unless they know the caller.  Better to be safe and NOT answer the phone at all.  Ever.  Or the phone rings and being the closest one to it, I look at the caller ID and say, “Oh… a 1-800 caller… telemarketer’s pitch … forget it …”  I’m sure they’ve picked up on that too, only it’s probably more like, “Oh … mom’s work number … bitchy pitch .. forget it …”

I confess that I have on occasion resorted to texting one of my sons to tell him to answer the damn phone because it’s me.  Yet the details of my call – I’ll be leaving the office soon – are so frivolous that they fail to be passed on to any other members of our household, who then find it necessary to call me back at work and ask me when I will be home because, a) they’re hungry, b) they need a ride, or c) they can’t find a protractor, and my being 35km away is no reason why I should not be able to produce an immediate and satisfactory result.
Since my daughter is still not entirely phone-phobic, she will on occasion take my calls, though usually only while watching television and absent of any specific attention to me whatsoever.  How do I know this?
You be the judge:
“Hi Mom.”

“Hi Sweetie, so you’re home from school?”

“Yeah”

“You forgot to call me to let me know.”

“Yeah.”

“Did you let the dogs out?”

“Yeah.”

“Did you do your homework?”

“Yeah.”

“Have you practiced your piano?”

“Yeah.”

“Are you in the middle of a riveting episode of Suite Life on Deck?”

“Yeah.”

“Would you like boiled turnips with sautéed worms for dinner, tonight?”

“Yeah.”

I’m beginning to wonder why we even have a home phone, other than for my underprivileged cell phone-deprived 11-year old daughter who still finds the phone somewhat essential in catching up on all the latest middle school news that has taken place in the 7 minutes it took her to walk from the school bus to our home.

We have four cell phones in this family and of course one has been promised to my daughter for her 13th birthday.  I am giving some serious thought to eliminating our land line service altogether, though I know we do still need it right now for 9-1-1 emergency service.  Between basic service, voice mail, caller ID and call waiting, the fees sure do add up on our monthly phone bill.  I’m certain the cost of our land line would more than pay for my daughter to have a cell phone of her own (but PLEASE don’t tell her that, I BEG of you).

So once again the phone is ringing and once again, no one is making a move.  My son catches my one eyebrow raised* glaring.

“You’re closer!” he protests, and I’m momentarily satisfied, for at least it confirms to me there is nothing wrong with his hearing.  And I confess; I am closer.

“Hello?” I say, with cheer.

“Am I speaking to a member of this household who is over the age of 18?”

Oh crap.

Pause.

“No, I’m sorry.  There is no one in this household by that name; you must have the wrong number!”

Click.

 Are your kids phone-phobic too? 

* I can’t actually do that, but I think it would be a really useful skill.

31 Responses to Someone has really rung my Bell!

  • Good stuff, Astra! You had me laughing…as usual. We barely have a landline. Hubby and I work from home, but we use our cell phones, and the only reason we are plugged into the wall at all is because of the fax machine. The kids can use that phone for emergencies, but it honestly rarely rings. My younger brother has not had a landline for years, and so far…so good. I love picturing you parent! If your kids dont’ appreciate your humor yet…they will and they’ll realize how lucky they are to have a mom like you. Have a happy mother’s day (or do you celebrate that this weekend in Canada?)

  • Great post. I have a land line only for, as you mention, emergency reasons. That, plus the phone company/internet company (they’re the same) has me in a corner because my phone and internet are all intertwined. And now, the cable company has attached a thingy to the land line so that I can, through my laptop, schedule programs to be taped. As if I ever think to do that. I have an answering machine that has messages on it from, it turns out, months ago. I’m suspicious of anyone calling on my land line since everyone I know knows to use the cell.

    The land line phone is this dinosaur thing that sits on my desk and takes up space. At least it’s kinda cute – I picked up a retro-looking one on sale somewhere.

    Forget Erma Bombeck – you’re funny anyway! 8)

    • Gotta love those “bundle” deals – more like shackles if you ask me. But I hear you. When I tell my mom the deal we’re getting having our cable, internet, and 3 cell phones all bundled … she just laughs (I’m the fool, really!).
      I want to go back to the one kitchen phone on the wall with a really, REALLY long cord that goes practically all over the house! Thanks for stopping by!

      • I remember those kitchen phones. The cord was so long it would go to the floor and make a little pile there. I remember mom cooking dinner and walking all over the kitchen with that thing.

  • We have dumped the land line…and cable, too! We have cell phones and internet only. I tend to frustrate my stepkids because I often don’t a) have the phone on, and b) know where it is. They’re grown now, so it’s actually a good thing that I’m not so available. When they lived at home, they, too, were allergic to picking up the phone, and it drove me nuts!

  • Hey, I just nominated you for two awards: Versatile Blogger and Beautiful Blogger! You don’t have to post them, I just wanted to share. I’ll post in a bit!

  • Your house sounds like mine. One of my kids could be sitting right by the phone and they totally ignore it when it’s ringing. Now I’ve taken to ignoring the phone myself some of the time. It is usually for one of the kids anyway. I figure if it’s really important, they will call back. Since I have been ignoring the ringing phone, the kids have started to pick it up more knowing I won’t.

  • My girls, 14 and 16, don’t have cells phones. When they can pay for them, they can have them. So when our land line rings most likely it is for them and that phone get s answered pretty darn quick. Mostly to keep me from talking to their boyfriends. Mwahahahaha!

    • I’ve no doubt they run for the phone – reminds me of my day too when there was only one phone in the house and in the kitchen. My sister and I would DASH for that ringing thing before Daddio got a hold of it! Thanks for sharing!

  • Astra, I finally got rid of my landline. Nobody would answer it but me and I found, like you, most of the calls were from sales people, since those who know me call me on my cell. I did consider emergency calls, but the cell phone has that capability.

    So, I got rid of it, and I don’t even notice it’s gone. It was a money drain too. So, now we all have our cell phones and it’s quite a relief.

    My advice to you? Get rid of it! If I can do it, you can, too. 😉

  • Oh, my, how this describes parts of my life. My 12-year-old daughter will occasionally sprint to get the home phone in case it’s one of her friends since she doesn’t have a cell phone yet, either. (She has also been promised one for her 13th birthday if she doesn’t give us any reason to renege on that – it’s a great behavior motivator, that!) More likely, though, my cell phone rings and it’s one of her school friends that she has instructed to call because we never really use the home phone.

    I love the conversation between you and your daughter while she watches TV – that singular attention to the flickering images is so astonishing to me! They will respond without any clue as to the content of your question – I would wonder where they learned that but then I recall the years of ‘listening’ to them struggle to read aloud to me while I daydreamed or texted a girlfriend surreptitiously and merely nodded my head in their direction and murmured, “mmm, hmm.”

    • I’m still a little troubled by the decline of the land line… not sure why! Maybe because it happened so quickly in only one generation! I mean, I remember my grandparents had party lines back in the day (and I remember them!). Then to have 2 tvs – wow! Soon no one will be know where they’re going without their iPads or tablets! Amazing technology for sure. I laughed at your “listening” to your kids while they read. I too would answer “Mmmhmmm” and only snap out of it when they started saying, “Ok, great mom! See ya later!” Wait! What did I just agree to????
      Thanks for being able to relate!! ~A

  • Astra, this is a true Erma Bombeck piece. If she was alive today this is just the kind of post she would have written. Very humorous, topical, and leaves you feeling good. Congrats.

    I once tried to teach my kids to answer the phone politely (before cell phones took all necessity away…and prior to calling the home phone a “landline.” (Or is that landmine.)

    Anyway, I said to my oldest daughter, “When the phone rings answer it by saying, “Hello, this is Christine speaking.” Soon thereafter the phone rang so I nodded to her to give it a whirl. She picked up the receiver and aced it. “Very good!” I said…and she beamed.

    Later, the phone rang again so I picked it up and passed it to her little sister, Melinda. Without hesitation she said, “Hello, this is Christine speaking.” I guess I forgot to tell her that she is not her sister Christine, but I assumed over the years that truth had become pretty self-explanatory. I’ve learned that raising kids is always a crap shoot. You have to perfect the look of shock-and-awe and never assume they are tracking the conversation.

    Very funny post, Astra. Your writing is wonderful!

    • Thanks Annie … I guess Erma’s spirit is rubbing off 🙂
      That’s a very cute story about Christine and Melinda! Children will do as instructed … for a brief period of time! I am forever perfecting my look of shock-and-awe!!!

  • This is hysterical. I don’t have kids, so I’ve only myself to blame. After 7:00 I almost always let the machine pick up the phone. If it’s urgent then I’ll grab the receiver, but rarely is anything so important as to interrupt cocktail hour. 😉

  • Astra, I chortled while reading this post! The feeling of frustration is all too familiar. The Son can be next to the phone and he’ll never pick up. His reason for not doing so? “Ah, I’m not expecting calls on the house phone. My friends call me on my cell.” Really? I mean, really? As a result. I’m the only one willing to do a 200 meter sprint to the phone, though I must confess I get lazier as time passes. The way I see it, if it’s important enough, the person will call back. If they don’t, it wasn’t worth my pulling a muscle or hyperventilating. 🙂

    • Haha Bella, you make me chortle too! Well, girl, let’s look at it this way: at least with a land line in the house, we’re both still getting our exercise, no?

  • Yes! Phone Phobic is more of a beard for being anti-social. So funny you have to text them to get them to pick up the phone.

    • I’m praying that the anti-socialness of phone phobia does not extend to adulthood or we will have more societal problems with these ZGens than with the Millenials 🙁
      Thanks for stopping by, LaughingMom!

  • Lol! That you text your son to tell him to answer the phone b/c it’s you! What a crazy time. My kids are both phone phobic, mostly because they don’t know what to say to a grown up they can’t see. My eight year old answers the phone like this: “I’m gonna put my mom on.”

  • Every time I tried to call my youngest this week her dial tone was busy. As she was quite stressed last time I spoke with her, this caused me grief and so I decided to investigate further by calling her brother. “Oh, Grace got a new phone because she’s moving” he said. “Why on earth wouldn’t she let me know that?” I responded. When I finally reached her and explained I was quite concerned about her she said “I was just P.M.S.ing.” Silly me, OF COURSE I know when a child is P.M.S.ing! You have my sympathies 100% girlfriend!

    • Elizabeth, now you have me REALLY scared. So far I am the only one in the house PMSing. While the boys are merely phone phobes, soon I’m have a PMSing phone phobe in my daughter! Is that when it’s all over for me??!!

  • Have you been eavesdropping in on our house! Same scenario – except my hubby and daughter refuse to answer to the phone and it will be the same thing, I’ll be on the toilet screaming at the top of my lungs, Then they will yell that it’s my mother and I’ll yell, “Pick it up” but they don’t…sigh. And your conversation with your daughter is the exact conversations I have with my daughter, who is 14. Sorry to say they don’t get any more chatty as they get older!
    Thanks for a good laugh!
    Lisa Weinstein
    http://www.lisagradessweinstein.blogspot.com

  • I guess the one thing I don’t understand is why you raced to answer the phone. I stopped doing that years ago, since it’s never for me anyway. Just a note, if you don’t answer the phone they eventually figure it out and start answering it.. or mine did anyway. As noted before, thanks much for the laugh.

    • Brenda, each time I DO answer the phone, I wonder why I bothered. A phone is fairly redundent for me as I tend to plan my life via email or text. I just always assume first it could be important or urgent. You’d be amazed at how few phonecalls I get telling how wonderful I am 😉
      I’m glad you got a laugh out of it though!

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About Astra
Ottawa mom of 3 poking fun at myself, motherhood, and minor hockey! I am steering through life dodging stinky hockey gear and empty wine bottles.
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